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Why Did Sean Bean Climb a Mountain Every Day on The Lord of the Rings Set?

Key Points: 

  • Sean Bean had a severe fear of flying, refusing to take helicopter rides to the filming locations.
  • A prank gone wrong on his first helicopter ride exacerbated his phobia, leading him to climb the mountain daily.
  • Bean eventually overcame his fear after the tragic events of 9/11 prompted him to face his anxiety.

In the epic world of The Lord of the Rings, Sean Bean’s character, Boromir, is a skilled warrior known for his bravery and resilience. Little did viewers know, the actor portraying him displayed similar fortitude off-screen by scaling a mountain every day to reach the filming location due to his intense fear of flying.

Why Did Sean Bean Climb a Mountain on The Lord of the Rings Set?

Sean Bean in Lord of the rings
Sean Bean in Lord of the rings

According to Collider, Sean Bean’s aversion to flying dates back to his early days in the industry, when he would grip the armrests tightly and consume alcohol to cope with the anxiety. This phobia reached new heights during the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

On the first day of shooting, Bean was subjected to a prank by his co-stars, who falsely informed the helicopter pilot that the actor was an enthusiastic flyer. The pilot then performed various aerial maneuvers, leaving Bean visibly shaken. After that incident, he adamantly refused to board helicopters and instead opted to hike up the mountain every morning, fully clad in his Boromir costume and makeup.

Director Peter Jackson recounted the remarkable sight of Bean scaling nearly vertical cliffs to reach the filming location. The actor would wake up early, get into his full Boromir attire, and embark on a two-hour trek up the mountain. Part of the journey involved taking a ski lift, but even then, Bean remained in character, wired up and ready for filming upon arrival.

READ MORE: How Did Arnold Schwarzenegger Keep a Secret Child Hidden for Over a Decade?

While the daily climb was undoubtedly grueling, Bean’s commitment to his craft and determination to overcome his fear were truly admirable. His dedication ensured that he was always on set and prepared for his scenes, despite the physical toll of the arduous journey.

Facing His Fear After 9/11

Sean Bean in LOTR
Sean Bean in LOTR

For years, Sean Bean’s fear of flying remained a constant struggle, but a pivotal moment came in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The heightened security concerns surrounding air travel prompted the actor to reevaluate his phobia.

As Bean himself explained, “Suddenly, around 9/11, there was all this talk of possible attacks on planes and long-range missiles from terrorists. I thought: ‘Why am I worrying about engine failure if there’s all this going off?’ And somehow I got over it.”

From that point forward, Bean made significant strides in overcoming his anxiety, though he still experiences discomfort during turbulence. His newfound courage allowed him to take on roles that required air travel, such as playing a pilot in the 2005 film Flightplan.

READ MORE: Anthony Mackie Reflects on Creative Limitations in Playing Marvel’s Falcon and Captain America

Sean Bean’s dedication to his craft and willingness to confront his fears head-on have undoubtedly contributed to his success in portraying iconic characters across various franchises. His daily mountain climbs on the set of The Lord of the Rings will forever be remembered as a testament to his commitment and resilience as an actor.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was released in theaters on December 19, 2001.

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